Asclepias syriaca /Milkweed Family
This milkweed is a favorite of many interesting insects. Monarch butterflies, Milkweed bugs, Milkweed beetles, Milkweed moths, and aphids live on, eat, and lay their eggs on this plant. The sticky white juice of milkweeds contain a poison which these insects incorporate into their bodies making them poisonous when they eat the leaves. Most milkweed-eating insects are brightly colored (red and black or orange and black) as a warning to potential predators. The sap also contains latex which gums up the mouths of certain insects like soldier beetles, it is common to see them hanging dead stuck to a leaf vein! Milkweeds are poisonous to cattle, goats, and sheep. The poisons contained in the stems, leaves, and seedpods are desglucosyrioside and syrioside.
Where seen: Great Smoky Mountains NP, Warrior's Path SP, Oak Ridge Greenways, widespread